WoW – Stompin’

Draenor mapI finally followed the Nagrand breadcrumb quest on Alouette (my paladin) this morning, and was riding over to Telarii Station, minding my own business, when I saw a hunter kiting a big old elite elekk (elephant for the non-WoW peeps) all around a field. I jumped in to help, as one does, because this expansion finally rewards jumping in and helping in the open world (unlike the 10 previous years of World of Warcraft). So anyway, I tanked away as best I could as a level 99 98 against a level 100 elite critter, and as the seconds trickled by more people joined in until eventually Luk’hok lay dead.

And everyone looted, as one does. I was expecting some gear, maybe an upgrade, and some decent xp, and instead I got… A MOUNT!!!

This is a big deal for me. So in response to Atherne’s comment the other day, I now have the silly animal headgear, the plushie (oh, and I made Soul of the Forge too), AND a mount. All the important stuff.

meadowstomper

Which is still just as well, because I’m still out of garrison resources. And money. If there are any WoW-playing sugar-daddies (or mommies, I’m not picky) out there, do let me know. If all else fails, my night elf does a mean mailbox dance.

Bloggy Xmas 11 – Nothing New Under The Sun

So, #bloggyxmas Day 11, it’s just you and me…

…and the score of other bloggers who came before me and said everything good, right, and interesting *I* was about to say. No, really, I was. Except now I can’t and you’ll never know, because they already did and I can’t possibly copy what anyone else said. /ragequit

GRRRRR!

GRRRRR!

Okay, I lied. No /ragequit. Because that’s partly the point of community for me, especially the gaming community but probably, to be honest, any community that’s passionate about whatever it is it’s passionate about — we all share this gestalt mind that pursues the same subjects at the same time and says very similar things. And subjects come around again every so often (in my case, Solo vs. Grouping and Why Dungeons Are Horrible), get hotly debated, and then die back down for six months or a year.

For a while — which coincided with me not blogging a whole lot, so the past 2-3 years or so — I wasn’t so sure, but now I think this is A Good Thing™. I started this blog back in 2008 and for a very short while it was going to be a blog just about Warhammer Online, because that’s what I was involved in when I started it. It’s all the fault of Casualties of War, you see (and they appear to be a casualty of the internet because the forums have either moved or are no more) — a bunch of people I met online and don’t even remember how I met, because that’s the cool thing about gaming: you meet people all the time while playing games and while many of them fall by the wayside, a not-inconsiderable number of them end up sticking as acquaintances, friends, possibly RL friends and sometimes even spouses.

cropped-casualties_2.jpg

Casualties of War – Warhammer Online group shot

I am now RL-friends (and neighbours, as it happens) with people I met in Asheron’s Call almost 15 years ago, not to mention having changed continents in order to get married to one of those met-in-an-MMO people. Back then it was weird, and people kept telling me I was going to meet axe-murderers; it’s not so unusual these days (meeting people online – not meeting axe-murderers). So I probably met someone in Casualties through someone I knew who knew someone who knew someone who was involved. And Casualties was chock-full of blogging types who encouraged the rest of us to try it out, and many of us did, and most of our blogs went from “this will only ever be about Warhammer, I swear!” to “games rock! let’s talk more about games!”, which is entirely predictable given that most gamers are passionate about more than a single game.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, because I’ve lost the blogging habit these last couple of years and anything other than stream-of-consciousness is hard work. But at some point — and many bloggers have encountered the same thing — I felt as though I’d said most of what I needed to say, that others were saying it much more cogently and with a fresher perspective anyway, and that I was just rehashing stuff nobody would care about. So I stopped writing, and told myself it was because life had become very busy (which it had) and I had many other things to do (which I did) — but when you’re passionate about something, you find time for it no matter what. That guy who never calls you back because he’s ‘too busy’? He didn’t want to call you in the first place. We make time for the things we care about.

Kittens make every post 1000% better. True fact.

Kittens make every post 837% better. True fact.

And I care about gaming, so here I am. I’ve always stated that I blog primarily for myself — and I do, which freed me from caring about how many people clicked this or how many people commented on that (though the stats are kind of fun and the positive attention is freaking awesome, especially when it’s from people I admire). But blogging for myself doesn’t mean I’m not part of a community of other people who blog about games and a whole host more people who read blogs about games. And yes, we’re terribly incestuous. We share ideas, we all post about the same thing pretty much at the same time, we have storms in teacups and get our knickers in a twist and make up and write posts about how awesome the gaming and game-blogging community is. Because it is.

Because despite (or perhaps because of) being an introvert I can connect, whenever I want and to whatever extent I find comfortable, with folks on blogs and all the other social media out there now. We all have different lives, we all have daily triumphs and tragedies and challenges, and although we don’t necessarily talk about them (though I find I share that stuff a bit more nowadays than I used to, and it can be a comfort), we share a bond that somehow makes life a little better. Because we’re passionate about that one thing. It can lower barriers and build bridges between people who otherwise wouldn’t acknowledge each other in the street, for whatever political, religious or cultural reason. It’s not a panacea, but it is A Good Thing. And whether it’s reading blogs or writing them or simply making friends through gaming and Twitter and Facebook and MyLifeHasNoPrivacy.com, we should continue doing it.

Thanks to Syl for running this initiative, which has reminded me why I started this blog in the first place. Alone but not lonely, I game.

Happy holidays.

xmas

 

 

A Very Bloggy Holiday!

Syl over at MMOGypsy has launched a fun holiday initiative which I instantly signed up for. It must have been the Belghast-assisted banner, because I’m not normally much of a joiner, but I (like Syl) grew up in Switzerland and I too remember advent calendars, street-corner hot chestnut vendors (if you don’t burn everything that comes in contact with them you’re doing it wrong), snow, lights, more snow, hot chocolate, and all that western hemisphere Holiday goodness.

bloggyxmasLet’s caveat this right now: sometimes I will say Christmas, sometimes I’ll say Xmas, sometimes I’ll say Holidays, and sometimes I’ll say Great Cthulhu’s Midwinter Brains Extravaganza. Please, please don’t be a dick — just insert the relevant holiday for you and let everyone be happy, m’kay?

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s Syl’s Bloggy Xmas Advent Calendar, which will let you find and enjoy each day’s entries. Apparently so many of us signed up that much of the month offers not one, but two daily entries. That’s how spoiled you’ll be.

There’s a clicky image linky thing over on the sidebar, too:

BloggyXmas2Oh yeah, and I’m up on the 11th, along with Contains Moderate Peril.

 

The Secret World – launch & early access

Per the forums:

The Secret World will launch on July 3rd. Everyone who has pre-ordered the game will however get access four days earlier on June 29th. Anyone with a pre-order will be able to get into the game at 16:00 GMT (18:00 CEST, noon EDT, 9am PDT). Players who placed their pre-orders early and anyone with the Grand Master Pack will get access on June 29th even earlier.

Every account eligible for Early Access will receive an e-mail at the time when the account is opened up for access so make sure you check your e-mails frequently on June 29th.

Available dimensions (servers) at launch, subject to change though it’s probably getting late for that:

Dimensions are global and you can play anywhere you want without any regional restrictions. We’ve marked some dimensions as French- and German-speaking, and though you can still play the English language version of the game on those dimensions, people will probably be chatting and communicating in French or German.

Here is the list of the first five English dimensions, along with the first two French-and-German dimensions:

* Cerberus
* Daemon
* Arcadia (RP dimension)
* Grim
* Huldra
* Drac (French dimension)
* Kobold (German dimension)

For what it’s worth, I will likely be on Grim at least to begin with, since my long-time tribe-guild-gestalt-thingy is planning to start there. The rationale is to find a popular server (anyone who played TOR knows what empty servers look like a few months after launch) but not THE most popular server.

Counting only the non-RP, English language servers, my guesstimate as far as that goes is that Daemon will instantly be the most popular, followed by Grim/Cerberus (can’t quite decide which weighs more), then Huldra because nobody knows what one is and won’t be able to remember the name. The only way a server could be more popular than Daemon would be if it were called Boobies.

This is assuming I can find time to play on early access! I’ve got a bunch of things to do tomorrow and for some reason all these people keep wanting me to do work for them (the cheek!)… but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to hop in. I’m also planning to take screenshots and maybe even cobble together a review at some point, but I’m wary of promising stuff I may not have the energy to deliver.

In any case, to those of you who have preordered or will be playing at some point, I hope to see you in-game! Depending on the number of char slots we get across the servers, I may be able to make alts just to hop in and say “Ohai!” to people – because you all know how much I hate making alts. Or I could just use the handy-dandy cross-server chat that Winged Nazgul just mentioned in the comments… D’oh!

Sucker for a happy ending

I talk a lot about being an introvert, a hermit, a soloer for most of the time I spend in games — and while lately I’ve actually been more of a duoer, the basic principle still holds: when I’m mucking about in game, I prefer very little company. It has to be just the right company or I become crabby, overwhelmed, prone to profanity and just generally turn into a bitchy pain in the ass.

What only other introverts seem to understand, however, is that this doesn’t make me unsociable or anti-social — quite the contrary. I’m extremely sociable, it’s just that my terms for it aren’t the same as those of your average extrovert (who, making up statistics as I go along, seem to make up the bulk of the MMO population). I have a huge personal space requirement, both in real life and in virtual life. Some people get that, and others just stand on my character, or sit in front of me staring at my (virtual! FFS!) boobs and drive me to frothing annoyance.

There’s more than one way to be sociable, and one of the ways I’m sociable is by socialising in chat. And specifically guild chat. WoW wouldn’t have held me 2 weeks when I came back if I hadn’t been able to hook back up with my forever tribe, the Knights Who Say Ni — and with a subset of friends I hadn’t “seen” (you know what I mean) in years and had missed a great deal more than I’m usually willing to admit. Hell, I’ve known some of these people for over a decade now, whether I’ve met them in person or not — and one day I swear I’ll make it to an RL guild meet; I’m tired of missing out on those Las Vegas high jinx!

So when I caught Larísa’s post just now over at the Pink Pigtail Inn, I was only half surprised to find myself sniffling a bit as I reached the end of the post. It’s well worth a read, as the Pink One’s stuff always is.

We’re nothing without our friends, and I’m a little tired of explaining that how I spend my time killing shit has zero bearing on my social abilities.

It’s not what you’re playing, it’s who you’re playing it with.

PS – If you’re the one who stole my ability and desire to do walls of text, gimme it back! These short posts are just… weird.

Off with their heads! Player politics.

Spinks shared this, so it actually came up on my reader, and I have to cry shenanigans. Oh wait not that one – BS. That’s the one I want.

It’s another “gamer-types” post and here’s the original. It’s another incredibly biased gamer-types post where one side is beauty truth and light and the other is one step down from maggots. I wonder if you can work out which is which from the quote below?

Continue reading

MMO Hell isn’t always other people

Just a small thing today, something I noticed over the last few days.

I don’t mind solo-playing in games at all — quite the contrary, I define myself as a solo player when it comes to the line that’s inevitably drawn between one playstyle and the other (as I’ve written about copiously before; here’s just one example because I’m lazy). Solo play suits my lifestyle — or, more to the point, group-play isn’t usually an option for me for various reasons.

Guild Wars is extremely solo-friendly, at least at  the low levels I’ve been playing at; with heroes and henchmen (NPCs) available, it seems it probably stays that way for a good part of the available content. This is a good thing.

But last week I finally convinced the spousal unit to give the game a try and we played a few introductory sessions together. We didn’t get much done, admittedly, because he’s still in the learning to walk and chew gum phase, but we bimbled around in pre-Searing Ascalon, slew some stuff, looted some other stuff, and made a few quest NPCs happy.

And the plain fact is: games are more fun when you play with someone else. I’ve found myself less inclined to log on and mush about with my solo characters, hoping instead that we’d be able to find the time to do some stuff together. Mort is the perfect playing partner for me, not least because he’s in the same room and if one of us has to run AFK for whatever reason (dinner, laundry, dog with possible plague/tularemia*) it’s easy to say “Ack! Wait!” and not have to worry about your group-mates standing around being bored out of their heads while they wait for you.

Aside from that though we also have very similar playing styles — which was in fact how we made friends in the first place a decade ago.  We don’t slam through content at breakneck pace, though we also don’t really snail our way through stuff. We’re careful what we pull. We consult each other before we go this way or that way. We don’t argue about who gets what loot. It’s a relaxing group atmosphere.

(I’m not going to touch grouping behaviour other than pacing — loot behaviour, telling other people how they should be playing their class, all that stuff. Because if the pace ain’t right, most of the other stuff will never get a chance to come out anyway.)

I’ve got some very good friends with whom I avoid grouping if possible (when we’re playing the same game) because our grouping styles just aren’t compatible. Some can’t ever get their arses in gear — which is easier to deal with than the opposite type but can still be annoying. Some can’t stand that sometimes I can’t get my arse in gear, or that sometimes I can forget from one minute to the next that we were about to do something together. (Forgetful? Moi?)  Others group like they solo, forging ahead regardless of group pace and ending up half a zone in front of everyone else because that’s how fast they play and there’s no reason they should slow down for anyone else.

Both of those bug me. To my mind if you’re going to group you have to compromise a little, and if that means slowing down somewhat or speeding up somewhat to match the average group pace, then that’s what you do. But if the pace just doesn’t suit you no matter how much you try to adapt — don’t group with those people.

Of course, I have the luxury of being picky. I don’t play games that require me to group, and so I only group when I want to. I don’t feel compelled to group because I don’t feel incomplete when I play solo. Some of the least flexible group players I’ve encountered are the ones who’ve had to group with goobers (of whatever kind) too many times, and I can understand their frustration. My solution is to simply avoid grouping, but that’s not always an option if you want to experience certain kinds of content.

Group woes aside, though, when you do find a good person or five to group with there’s just no denying than gaming is more fun. We’re social creatures and we like to laugh and achieve stuff (to whatever extent), and grouping in an MMO fulfils those drives on many different levels.

I almost wish games would include playstyle-matching in their LFG interfaces. It’s not just a case of whether you’re playing a fighter or a healer — it’s also a case of whether you play slowly and carefully or whether you play like the Energizer bunny on steroids. I’d tick the “likes to stop and smell the roses” box and definitely leave the “it’s all about getting to the boss as fast as possible!” box empty.

Anyway — there’s no real point to this post other than to appreciate the people I play with. If you have a regular gaming buddy or group and your playstyles are compatible, take a moment to be grateful for that. The older and busier we get, the harder that seems to achieve.

Unrepentant altoholic LF laid-back, relatively slow, plays-odd-hours G in Guild Wars. Likes long walks on the beach and slaying monsters with plenty of coffee breaks. Slackers only please!

~

*Which she apparently does not have, according to the initial test, yay!